World’s commitment to Earth has been fragile, but not India’s, says Modi


Prime Minister Narendra Modi said equitable access to energy for the poor remains a cornerstone of his government’s economic policy, but India will continue to work toward that goal while simultaneously meeting its commitments to address the global challenge of climate change.

In his inaugural address, delivered virtually, at the three-day World Sustainable Development Summit of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, Wednesday, Modi said he had focused on sustainable development throughout his 20 years as an elected official, first as Gujarat’s chief minister from 2002 to 2014 and since then as India’s prime minister.

“We have heard people call our planet fragile,” he said. “But it is not the planet that is fragile. It is us. We are fragile. Our commitments to the planet, to nature, have also been fragile. A lot has been said over the last 50 years, since the 1972 Stockholm Conference. Very little has been done. But in India, we have walked the talk (sic),” he said.

The prime minister cited the Ujjwala Yojana, through which some 90 million rural and poor households have been given cooking gas cylinders, as an example of the government’s commitment to equitable energy access.

Similarly, he said, an LED bulb distribution scheme has been running for over seven years and had helped save more than 220 billion units of electricity and 180 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

“Under the PM-KUSUM scheme, we have taken renewable energy to the farmers,” Modi added. The government is encouraging farmers to set up solar panels and sell surplus power to the country’s electricity grid. “Standalone solar pumps as well as efforts for solarizing (sic) existing pumps are being scaled up. The focus on ‘chemical-free natural farming’ will also help promote sustainability and equity,” he said.

The prime minister also referred to the setting up of the National Hydrogen Mission to use green hydrogen for India’s rising fuel needs. “I encourage academic and research institutes like TERI to come up with scalable solutions to realize the potential of green hydrogen,” he said.